A person who is accused of a crime will have a lot of different things that they have to handle through the course of their case moving through the criminal justice system. While it is possible for a person to learn that they are being investigated, others don’t know about the criminal charges until the time they are arrested. No matter how they find out that they are facing charges, there are important points to remember.

Some cases go before the grand jury. This jury looks at the evidence that the prosecution has and determines whether charges are appropriate. These individuals don’t decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty. The prosecutor can follow their recommendation about the case but this isn’t required.

Another way that charges come about is that the prosecutor will file a complaint in the criminal court. This must be done quickly after an arrest. In most cases, they have only three days to decide this. If there isn’t a grand jury indictment and the case is a felony, the case will go before the judge in a preliminary hearing. During this procedure, the prosecutor must show that there is enough evidence to support the charge.

Whether a case is handled through a grand jury, the prosecutor is the person who ultimately has to decide what charges a person will face. There are many factors that can impact this. Office policy, current laws, the prosecutor’s beliefs and any political aspirations of the person can affect the decision.

Because there are so many variables in these cases, you should find out what options you have for your defense. This is directly affected by the circumstances of the case, so you can’t base your defense strategy on someone else’s situation and criminal case outcome.